Anju at Ranga Shankara

Here is one of my favourite spaces:

Ranga Shankara

And in Ranga Shankara, always smiling, with a friendly word for everyone, is a lady I have come to associate with the theatre space:

Anju Trupti Catering at RS

Meet Anju Sudarshan, who has been taking care of the cafe at Ranga Shankara for just over a year now. She is obviously popular with both her clientele, and with theatregoers, and can be seen exchanging pleasant remarks with almost everyone who frequents the space.

Anju was brought up in Mumbai, but cooking, she says, was always in her blood: “if my mother was woken up in the middle of the night and asked to produce a few dishes, she would do so!” she laughs.

When she moved to Bangalore, she worked for various NGO’s; but her parties were always hits, with friends telling her that she should get into catering…her friend Vanamala Vishwanathan used to say, her food was “home food with 5 star presentation.”

She started Trupti Catering in 2004, because she felt that her customers would like to eat the same kind of food that she had grown up eating..”honest food”, she calls it. She doesn’t believe in using heavy spices or lots of oil/ghee. She started with one cook (now she employs three)…and her first customers were all her friends and former colleagues.

She has been doing catering for many corporates now, including such organizations as SOS Children’s Villages, IISEC, ETC, and so on.

One very interesting thing she has done is, on a voluntary basis, taken training programs for girls who are employed as domestic help, so that after learning how to cook, these girls can command a better salary.

At present, she runs her catering outfit from a place near her home and has a separate team at Ranga Shankara, which includes Murugesh, (in the pic with her below)

anju and her canteen at Ranga Shankara 3 July 07

Nagendra, and Dhan Singh. Apart from these, she has also hired some women whom she is training to handle food and the associated tasks. One of the first difficulties she faced when she hired the cooks, she says, was “unlearning”…teaching them NOT to use too many spices, or too much oil. Yes, labour does prove a problem now and then, she says, but for the most part, even those who have left her have come back!

Money has luckily never been a major problem, she says. Most organizations pay promptly and she has been free of the hassle of collecting cash! However, inflation in terms of vegetables, meat and groceries is proving to be a major headache. “I don’t use colours, soda, or other commercial tricks of the trade,” she asserts. She points to some people who come regularly for her lunch thali, which is priced at Rs.40. “They come from quite a distance, which is a compliment!”, she smiles. When she caters, she tries to ensure a holistic dining experience, rather than just serve the food. “One customer had the dinner in her basement, so I took along a whole lot of plants and decorated the bare basement,” she says reminiscently. She says she can do the catering for a minimum of 30 people.

How did the cafe at Ranga Shankara happen? “I met Arundhati at a common friend’s place, “she says, “and things just moved on from there.” Retaling, she says, “was not my forte”, but she learnt the ropes as she went along.

The cafe at Ranga Shankara is a stand-alone eating place, she avers; people don’t have to attend the play to come here and sit down for a while and have a chat over a cup of chai, coffee, or that funny speciality, Teefee. How did this drink come about? “Rajat Kapoor, when he was here, doing ‘Flowers’, liked a mix of tea and coffee, and I decided to include it in my menu!”

Trupti Catering can be contacted on

+91 93421 94176

All the best in your endeavours, Anju! We hope to see your smiling face for a long time at Ranga Shankara!

4 Comments so far

  1. Radman (unregistered) on July 4th, 2007 @ 8:05 pm

    Deepa, great human interest story. as soon as my kids graduate from college, I am going to spend 6 months in washington dc, 3 months in bangalore, and 3 months in costa rica. cant wait. this blog lets me get a flavor of life in bangalore and people and places that I want to meet and see. Cheers.

  2. Naresh (unregistered) on July 9th, 2007 @ 5:42 pm


    Had been there the other day for the play “Waiting For Lefty” and had my dinner at Anju’s… Its an awesome place n she is a fabulous person…

  3. Lokesh Naik (unregistered) on July 10th, 2007 @ 6:16 pm

    I agree with the “honest food” bit. its a good place for people looking for good old “good food”, rather than food that is designed to pander to the “instant…. sensational…. gratification…..” type, that seems to be what most small eateries are moving towards.
    I just hope that commercial pressures don’t change that particular quality.
    The ambience is also very good.

  4. kpowerinfinity (unregistered) on July 11th, 2007 @ 10:04 am

    They have vada pav there!

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